Family Matters: The Importance of Mattering to Family in Adolescence / Edition 1

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In this book, Gregory Elliott explores the effects of mattering to one's family on adolescent behavior. He presents evidence that those who feel that they matter to their families are much less likely to engage in anti-social or self-destructive behaviors and suggests how parents, teachers and any significant others can help instill a sense of mattering in the lives of adolescents in their care. The clear understanding that they matter will help protect young people from the threats to wellbeing that are so prevalent in adolescence and will encourage them to navigate smoothly through these difficult years.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I enjoyed reading Family Matters and the first research findings drawn from a large sample. The chapters summarizing what mattering is and how it motivates behavior provide a nice overview for uninitiated readers...this book helps highlight a construct that may be important for family researchers and hopefully will help encourage others to consider engaging in research to fill in the many gaps in our knowledge about mattering." (Journal of Family Theory & Review, Autumn 2010)

"This book is recommended for social psychologists, sociologists, psychologists, and social workers. I found it thought provoking and would like to see items on mattering added to large-scale surveys. Readers are likely to think of instances of how not mattering has mattered in their own lives." (International Journal of Sociology of the family, Autumn 2010)

“The book is clear, provocative, and well documented.” (CHOICE, February 2010)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405162425
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/4/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory C. Elliott is Associate Professor of Sociology at Brown University. A social psychologist, his research focuses on the self and its relation to social systems. He teaches courses in social psychology, the self and society, and methods and statistics. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. He has also been a Consultant for the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. He has published numerous articles on mattering and the self in leading social psychology journals such as Social Psychology Quarterly and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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Table of Contents

Preface viii

Acknowledgements x

1 What Does It Mean to Matter? 1

Introduction: A Thought Experiment 1

Defining Mattering: What It Is 2

Distinguishing Mattering: What It Is Not 8

A Similar Construct 12

Mattering and the Self as Entity 15

Mattering and the self as Process 19

Mattering and the Life Course 25

Mattering in Adolescence 28

The Structure of the Book 32

2 Mattering Matters 33

Mattering as a Motivator for Behavior 33

The Motivational Properties of Mattering 37

Anti-Social Behavior 42

A contemporary Example: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing 43

Self-Destructive Behavior 46

A contemporary Example: Seung-Hui Cho and the Massacre at Virginia Tech 47

Elaborating the Relationship: The Mediating Role of Self-Esteem 52

Mattering to Family 59

3 Researching Mattering: An Overview 63

Operationalization: The Craft of Measurement 63

Gathering the Sample 67

Plan of the Analysis 68

A Caveat 70

Reporting the Results of the Analyses 71

4 Mattering and Anti-Social Behavior 73

Theories of Anti-Social Behavior 74

Relevant Research on Anti-Social Behavior 79

Preliminary Analysis: The Relationship between Mattering and Self-Esteem 81

Truancy 84

Vandalism 88

Dealing in Contraband 91

Theft from the Family 95

Physical Violence 97

An Additional Mediator: Attitude toward Violence 103

Preliminary Analysis: Mattering and Attitude toward Violence 105

Carrying a Weapon 109

Violence against Others 114

Mattering and Anti-Social Behavior: Summing It Up 119

5 Mattering and Self-Destructive Behavior 123

Theories of Self-Destructive Behavior 125

Self-Esteem Again126

Llicit Drug Use 127

Binge Drinking 132

Suicidal Behavior 137

An Additional Mediator: Depression 140

Preliminary Analysis: Mattering to Family and Depression 144

Suicidal Behavior: Planning Suicide 146

Suicidal Behavior: Attempted Suicide 149

Mattering and Self-Destructive Behavior: Summing It Up 153

6 Inducing Mattering 157

The Social-Structural Underpinnings of Mattering 160

A Different Perspective 170

Teaching Children That They Matter 174

Parenting Styles and Mattering to Family 182

Parenting: It's Not About the Parent 187

Too Much Mattering? 191

The Future of Mattering 193

Appendix Researching Mattering: A Scientific View 197

The Sample and the Procedure 197

Measuring Mattering 200

Measuring Self-Esteem 200

Measuring the Control Variables 202

Limitations of the Data Set 205

Plan of the Analysis 206

Reporting the Results of the Analyses 209

A Caveat 230

References 233

Index 251

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